I had a long, dark period in which my camera became a paperweight that mocked me. I’d look longingly at my camera bag, trying to muster a creative thought to make seeking photo opportunities worthwhile. A creative fire that had been bright and hot for decades was a tiny ember, and I hadn’t realized that I was burned out.
Writing my way out of it wasn’t working, though I did produce a reasonably good essay or two. Fiction was pointless, dark, dreary, and unconvincing. I’ve never been a painter or drawer (is that a word) or sculptor. Nearly all my creative energy was in photography, and there was nothing to take pictures of.
I conceived the wild notion of finally learning to play guitar. I could do something that felt creative, making music, without having to actually create anything new. At 50 years old, I was finally going to do what 16-year-old Brian had always wanted to do. It has turned out to be oddly both easier and harder than I was expecting. That whole 10,000 hours idea is a real thing. But damn, is it fun to learn and practice. And now, after 9 months of playing at least 20 minutes every day, I was able this weekend to look at the chords for some simple songs and learn to play them at a basic level on the first try. That was pretty exciting.
And somewhere a couple months ago, the tiny ember kindled to life again. I got excited to go shooting, and one Saturday morning, I was up before the sun so I could head out VA State Route 626, which runs between The Plains and Middleburg to get some some photos of horse farms I knew would be photogenic if I could just find the spark. The reward was amazing. A dense fog lay over the fields and obscured the road, with the sun touching trees in the distance. I spent an hour or so taking pictures and it felt GREAT.
Amongst the things that fell away as I lost all my drive were my newsletter, web site maintenance, and my blog. I love sharing my work with you, but the thought of getting pictures and words together on a regular basis were just too overwhelming. ‘I’ll do it tomorrow,’ or next weekend, or some time. And then I stopped thinking about it. I’m all awake now, and excited to start showing you work again. And if I have another run of creativity as long as the last one, I’ll be in my 80s before I burn out again.